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The Chinese Food Christmas Surge

Uber, but for egg rolls

Stephanie Butnick
December 23, 2014

Everyone knows Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas. There are various reasons for the trend, as Tablet alum Marc Tracy pointed out in the seminal explainer, Why Eating Chinese Food on Christmas Is a Sacred Tradition for American Jews. (A summary: Chinese restaurants are open without fail on Christmas, when most other places are closed. Jewish immigrants living on the Lower East Side embraced Chinese food, which was deemed kosher enough since dishes rarely mixed meat and dairy—”Think about it!” Tracy implored—and the pork and shellfish used was chopped and minced so far into oblivion that it didn’t really count.)

But it seems like Jews might not be alone on the Christmas Chinese food bandwagon anymore. Slate got the numbers from GrubHub, an online restaurant delivery site, who reported that the percentage of all their orders that were for Chinese food on Christmas last year increased by 152 percent: “By comparison, the fraction of orders from restaurants listed on the site as American, pizza, or Mexican all declined by at least 30 percent last Christmas.”

And data don’t lie: the worst day for kosher delivery this year, according to GrubHub, was Oct. 4, when the percentage of orders fell 76 percent. It was Yom Kippur.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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